Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on Luke 2:3-11

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Luke 2:3-4

Joseph and Mary (v. 5) traveled from their home in Nazareth (1:26) to Bethlehem. This was the ancestral home of Joseph who was a descendent of David (1:27). He may have owned property there, which accounts for his need to travel. Luke emphasized the journey because Bethlehem was the foretold birthplace of the Messiah (Mic. 5:2). Though Caesar seemed in control, God was fulfilling his plans and promises (v. 6; see 1:51-52; Prov. 21:1).

Luke 2:5

engaged . . . pregnant. Luke probably inferred what Matthew made explicit (Matt. 1:25). Because they were engaged (1:27), Mary and Joseph had not consummated their marriage. The reader is reminded of Jesus's supernatural conception (1:30-35) as well as the shocking situation for Jewish society.

Luke 2:7

firstborn. Luke implied that Joseph and Mary had other children after Jesus (8:19; Mark 6:3). Like the people of Israel had been considered, Jesus is God's firstborn son (Exod. 4:22). Through him, many will become sons of God (John 1:12; 51-52; Gal 3:26). inn. A word which could refer to a few different things. It could mean a public shelter were several families would stay under one roof. Or, it might refer to a guest room attached to a home (22:11). Still yet, it might refer to a formal inn. These were either two-story buildings with customers staying above the animals, or a large, single-story building with stable and room side-by-side. The first or second option seems likely in this case. manger. A feeding trough for animals. Because the inn was full to capacity given the census (v. 1), Joseph and Mary stayed in a location normally reserved for animals. This was either a room attached to a home, or a nearby cave as ancient tradition suggests. See WLC 47; WSC 27.

Luke 2:8

shepherds. Often stayed in the fields at night to protect their sheep. They could have been at the traditional Shepherd's Field, which was about two miles from Bethlehem. Shepherds were especially appropriate to serve as witness to the birth of Jesus, since David was a shepherd as well (2 Sam. 5:2; 7:7; 1 Chron. 11:2; 17:6). He would also save his people as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11; see Gen. 48:15; 49:24; Ps. 23:1-4; Jer. 31:10). Yet, shepherds were not wealthy or powerful. The message given to them (vv. 10-12) was good news for the poor (Isa. 61:1; see 1:52; 4:18; 7:22).

Luke 2:9

angel of the Lord. See note on 1:11. glory of the Lord. The manifestation of God's presence among his people (see Exod. 16:10; 24:17; 40:34; Ps. 63:2). fear. A typical response to the appearance of angels (see 1:12, 30; 2:10; 8:50; Gen. 15:1; Judg. 6:23; Dan. 10:12, 19).

Luke 2:10

good news. The verb form of the word for the message of gospel (see 9:6; 20:1; Matt. 4:23; 9:35; Acts 8:25, 40; 14:7; Rom. 1:1, 16). joy. Fear (v. 9) should always give way to joy when people see and embrace the saving work of God (in salvation (1:14; 15:7, 10; 10:17; 24:41, 52).

Luke 2:11

Today. The good news of Jesus's birth did not simply point to the future. With this birth, the news of salvation had dawned. savior. The first of three titles that Luke used to summarize the person and work of Christ. As Savior, he provides deliverance from danger or enemies (see Judg. 3:9, 15; 2 Kgs. 13:5; Neh. 9:27). Jesus brings salvation from sins and its consequences (see 1:77; 19:10; Rom. 5:8-9; Eph. 2:8-10). Christ. A title which means Anointed (Ps. 2:2; Acts 5:42; 17:3); from the Hebrew word Messiah. Jesus came in fulfillment of God's promises to send a Davidic King to save and reign over his people (see 2 Sam. 7:11-16; Isa 23:5). Lord. Title used of God himself in the Old Testament. It speaks to his sovereign reign. Applied to Jesus, the title emphasizes that he is God as well as king (20:41-44; Acts 2:33-36). See HC 18.

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